Xi3 Hits Back At Valve Over Piston Steam Box Claims[UPDATE II]

By Trevor Ruben , Updated Mar 11, 2013 11:35 AM EDT
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Update II: Xi3 now says that Valve specifically asked it not to disclose any information about the relationship between the two companies. Xi3 does confirm that while Valve invested in the coompany and the Piston Steam Box was built at their request, the Piston Steam Box is not the "official" Valve version. Also, Valve is no longer involved in any of their products, as Valve stated on Tuesday. It seems the two companies also differ on choice of operating systems with Xi3 saying the Piston will ship with Windows software and the ability to run Linux while Valve wanted it to be a Linux box. In addition, Xi3 says the Piston can do "more" than Valve's official Steam Box because there are more games on Windows and Linux than just on Windows.

"It's also important to note that the Piston Console will allow gamers to access Steam regardless of what our relationship is or isn't with Valve. Additionally, Piston will also support a raft of other Internet-based gaming and entertainment platforms, which is more than what Valve apparently has planned for its official Steam Box," says Jason A. Sullivan , founder, president and CEO of Xi3 Corporation.

Xi3 goes on to note that pre-orders are strong and says that it may not be able to fulfil demand for the console this holiday season. It endes on a surprisingly petulant note: "In closing, what Valve does or doesn't do with its Steam Box will be up to them. So Gabe, it's up to you. The ball is in your court."

As long as we can play Steam games easily on our TVs, whether it's on the 'official' Valve Steam Box or the 'unofficial' Piston one, that's all that matters.

Update I: Valve is putting some distance between itself and Xi3's Piston.

Doug Lombardi, spokesman for Valve, tells Eurogamer, "Valve began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any product of theirs."

Original story:

Hardware start-up Xi3's Valve-endorsed "Steam Box," called the Piston, gets its first trailer, asking players, "How can your console or gaming system keep pace?"

Xi3 unveiled the console at this year's CES, marking the first time anybody saw a "Steam Box" since Valve's Gabe Newell revealed his company was looking into developing hardware for the living room. Newell told the press after February's BAFTA awards we wouldn't have to wait too much longer for Valve's own version. "Steam Box" consoles are made to show Steam's "Big Picture Mode" as an easy interface on big-screen televisions, a simpler verions of the wildly popular digital store gamers use today.

"We're working with partners trying to nail down how fast we can make it. We'll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months," he said at the time. Newell also went on record saying Apple was his company's biggest competitor as a harware manufacturer, not Microsoft or Sony.

Meanwhile, the Piston is revving up. The company anounced the tiny PC is now availible for pre-order at a whopping starting price of $999.99, though those who make the jump before March 17 will recieve a $100 discount. The console will ship in time for the "2013 holiday season."

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